EnviroTek, with the help of an international team of experts, has successfully deployed a Schottel Instream Turbine (SIT) in the waters off the Sentosa Boardwalk in Singapore to demonstrate the feasibility of tidal energy in the Southeast Asia region.
The Singapore-based clean-technology investment company aspires to lead tidal in-stream energy projects in South East Asia.
Jefferson Cheng, Chairman and Founder of EnviroTek Pte Ltd, said the demonstration was about the use of appropriate technologies in suitable locations to address the real energy needs of the region. “We are keen to develop projects that involve marine renewable energy — a resource that is yet to be tapped effectively in the region,” he added.
Floating integrated renewable energy platforms are envisioned for the usage of local stakeholders (e.g. island or coastal areas) helping them increase energy resilience, decrease fossil-fuel dependence, explore multiple applications, and showcase the viability of harnessing tidal in-stream energy (TISE) and its potential to supply clean, renewable, and safe electricity to island as well as coastal communities.
Dr. Michael Lochinvar Sim Abundo, Managing Director of OceanPixel Pte Ltd noted that ocean renewable energy is currently not in the energy mix in South East Asia and remarked, “There is tremendous potential for harnessing ocean/marine renewable energy in the region especially for archipelagic countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. We are looking at marine renewable energy to be part of the energy mix — not just in off-grid areas but eventually to feed into micro-grids and the main grid.”
OceanPixel Pte Ltd, a spin-off company from the Energy Research Institute @ Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (ERI@N), was chosen to manage the project on behalf of EnviroTek Pte Ltd.
EnviroTek used a SIT 250 turbine in this project, a 62-kilowatt (kW) device with a rotor diameter of 4m, designed to be very robust and cost-effective. The turbine is attached to a catamaran platform with a lifting frame, allowing the turbine to be easily raised from and into the water. “We believe floating systems are the way to go for tidal energy because this allows us to reduce the installation cost but also to reduce the maintenance cost,” explained Dr. Ralf Starzmann, the Sales Director of Schottel Hydro.
Lita Ocean, a local shipping company, was commissioned to build the catamaran and integrate the SIT 250 turbine unto the platform. On the difficulties that the company faced in the project, Yeo Ying Da, Director of Lita Ocean said: “The main challenge for this project is the design of the platform, such that it is suitable for the deployment of the turbine and is stable in bi-directional mode.”
The deployment of the catamaran and the turbine was a joint effort between Lita Ocean, OceanPixel, Aquatera, NTU Singapore, and Orcades Marine. Lita Ocean, working with the local marine contractors, laid down the mooring lines and anchor before finally positioning the floating platform after towing it from their shipyard. Personnel from Aquatera and Orcades Marine were present to supervise the operation. Commissioning of the turbine is expected to take place in March with support from engineers from Schottel Far East based in Singapore.
Commenting on working in Singapore compared to the UK, David Thomson, Managing Director of Orcades Marine Management Consultants Ltd said, “We have to be very aware of the other stakeholders who use the environment we’re working in.” Dr. Gareth Davies from Aquatera added, “One of the key aspects we’re looking at here is how to learn to install technology in the SEA situation. We need to learn techniques and use equipment that is appropriate to South East Asia. In doing so, we can bring ideas from Europe and the tried and tested techniques but then adapt them to the South East Asian condition.”
This deployment has led to the development of local expertise in the tidal energy sector, and it is hoped that they can be used to further develop the industry in the South East Asian region.
Dr. Srikanth Narasimalu, Programme Director and Senior Scientist of Wind and Marine Renewables, ERI@N remarked that this project has given enough credibility to showcase Singapore as a key hub to develop such systems. Jefferson Cheng, President of EnviroTek, comments: “This project demonstrates the viability of such solutions and develops pathways for marine renewable energy to enter SEA.”